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Week In Focus #14

Feathery Ice Crystals

This is picture #14 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. Today’s photo was taken on frosty morning, and is of ice crystals that had formed on the roof of my car.

  • This photo was captured on my mobile phone

The way the crystals formed on my car does have a name. The frost is called, Hoar Frost, or Hoarfrost. These crystals form on cold, clear nights when the air has been, initially damp. The interlocking ice crystals become attached to branches of trees, leafs, hedgerows and grass blades and are one of the most prominent features of a typical ‘winter wonderland’ day. However, the fine ‘feathers’, ‘needles’ and ‘spines’ might also be found on any other object that is exposed to supersaturated air below freezing temperature.

The word hoar comes from an Old English adjective that means “showing signs of old age”. In this context, it refers to the frost that makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

Did you know?

Approximately three-quarters of the Earth’s fresh water is stored in the enormous ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland and in the smaller ice caps, mountain glaciers, and piedmonts scattered throughout the rest of the world. They occur in every region, including the Equator at high altitudes.

Ice CrystalsIce Crystals
Hoar Frost Ice Crystals
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3 comments

      1. It takes an exact set of atmospheric conditions to get this kind of frost. I’ve seen it several times in my home state of Michigan but not often.

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